Hawaii Workers’ Compensation FAQs

Hawaii Workers’ Compensation FAQs

If you are looking for answers about Hawaii workers’ compensation, there’s a good chance that you have been hurt at work. The workers’ compensation system in Hawaii is meant to help people like you. However, it can be complicated.

From the Hawaii workers’ compensation lawyers at the Recovery Law Center, here are answers to your frequently asked questions about Hawaii workers’ compensation.

Understanding Hawaii Workers’ Compensation

Does Hawaii have workers’ comp?

Yes. Hawaii has a workers’ compensation system. It provides no-fault benefits to workers who are hurt in the course of their employment.

Do I qualify for workers’ compensation in Hawaii?

You may qualify for workers’ compensation if you have an accidental injury in Hawaii arising from employment. An accident includes the willful act of a third person if it is employment related. In addition, you may qualify if you have a disease proximately caused or resulting from the nature of your employment. (§ 386-3).

What if my employer says I am an independent contractor?

Employers may try to avoid paying workers compensation by saying that you are an independent contractor, rather than an employee. The law defines an employee as any individual in the employment of another person. Whether you are an employee or contractor depends on the degree of control that the employer exercises over your work. (§ 386-1).

Our lawyers can help you challenge an incorrect classification as an independent contractor.

Getting Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Hawaii

How do I start a workers compensation case?

To start a worker’s compensation case, tell your employer that you are hurt. You may report the injury orally or in writing. Get medical care for your injury, if necessary.

What happens after you report a workplace injury?

If your injury requires medical treatment, or if you miss one day of work or more, your employer has seven days to report the injury to the Hawaii Disability Compensation Division. The employer must complete a WC-1, Employer’s Report of Industrial Injury/Illness. They must give you a copy.

How does workers’ comp work in Hawaii?

Workers’ compensation works in Hawaii to provide medical care and financial benefits when a person is hurt because of their employment. The person reports their injury and follows the steps to receive benefits. If the insurance company fails to provide covered benefits, the injured worker may take steps to pursue their case through hearings and appeals.

What does workers’ compensation cover in Hawaii?

Workers’ compensation in Hawaii may cover the following benefits:

  • Medical care: Including treatment, hospital charges, medications, X-rays, physical therapy
  • Transportation: Mileage reimbursement if a doctor says you can’t travel on public transit
  • Temporary Total Disability: 66 and 2/3rds of your average weekly wages, with a statutory maximum limit
  • Permanent Partial Disability: An award for permanent impairment following maximum medical recovery
  • Permanent Total Disability: Compensation if you are permanently unable to work in any capacity
  • Disfigurement: Additional compensation if your injury results in scars, deformity or discoloration
  • Death benefits: For the surviving spouse and dependent children
  • Vocational rehabilitation: To assist in returning to suitable work

You may choose a doctor who practices on the island you live on. The doctor must agree to treat you as a workers’ compensation case. You may be referred to a specialist.

Can I change my doctor?

If you want to change your treating physician, you can once. However, you must tell the insurance carrier first. If you want to change your doctor again, you must have approval from the insurance company.

Hawaii Workers’ Compensation Laws and Rules

What is the Hawaii workers’ compensation statute?

The Hawaii workers’ compensation statute is Chapter 386: Workers’ Compensation Law.

The Hawaii workers’ compensation statute is divided into sections:

  • General provisions including definitions and applicability
  • Compensation, including medical care, income and indemnity benefits
  • Administration and rulemaking authority
  • Insurance requirements, special compensation fund
  • Applicability to the Hawaii Guard, public board members and other public service personnel
  • Self-insurance

In addition to these laws, Hawaii workers’ compensation operates under a system of administrative rules. These rules dictate the claims and administration process.

What is the Hawaii workers’ compensation website?

The State of Hawaii, Disability Compensation Division, About Workers’ Compensation page and related pages explain the program in Hawaii and provide resources for injured workers. Commonly used forms are provided.

What are the time limits for filing for workers’ compensation in Hawaii?

You have two years to formally file a worker’s compensation claim. The timeline begins from when the effects of the injury manifest, which is immediately for an acute injury. It may be delayed for a disease. You also have a total of five years from the date the harm occurs to file the claim to receive workers’ compensation benefits. (§ 386-82).

How do I file for workers’ compensation benefits in Hawaii?

To file for workers’ compensation benefits in Hawaii, file Form WC-5 – Employee’s Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits. Your doctor will need to submit a WC 2 – Physician’s Report. Use Form 5A if you are a dependent filing a claim because of death.

What can I do if my benefits are denied?

If your benefits are unfairly denied, you have the right to request a hearing. You may ask for a neutral third party to hear the relevant facts and make a decision about your benefits. To ask for a hearing, complete a WC 77 – Application for Hearing. You may have a lawyer represent you.

Can I appeal an unfavorable decision?

You have 20 days to appeal a decision that you are unhappy with. The appeal may be filed with the Labor and Industrial Relations Appeals Board or the Disability Compensation Division.

Can you still bring a third-party legal claim if you qualify?

Yes. Even if you receive workers’ compensation, it is still possible to bring a third-party legal claim. It’s important to know that there are requirements to follow if you pursue both types of cases. (§ 386-8).

How Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get the workers’ compensation you deserve. It can be hard to know what benefits you should receive and what to do if you are denied. Recovery Law Center can help.

If you have questions about these topics, or if you have additional questions about your situation, our lawyers are happy to speak with you. See how we may assist with your claim — contact us today.

Legally Reviewed By
Amy Chan

Amy M.H. Chan

At our law firm, Amy is committed to providing her clients with the highest quality legal representation.  Her extensive experience, coupled with her dedication for her work make her an invaluable asset to our team. Meet Amy

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